Surrogacy is both a medically and emotionally complex process that requires careful evaluation by medical professionals, MHPs, and legal professionals to ensure that the procedure is satisfactory for both the surrogate as well as the intended parents. A surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another couple or woman. There are two types of surrogacy arrangements: traditional surrogacy in which the surrogate is inseminated with sperm from the male partner of the intended parent couple (donor sperm may be used as well) and gestational carrier (GC) in which the surrogate carries a pregnancy created by transferring an embryo created with the sperm and egg of the intended parents (donor sperm or donor eggs may be used as well). A GC has no genetic relationship to the child.
Much of the conflict surrounding surrogacy is a result of issues surrounding the legality of binding agreements agreed to prior to the conception or birth of a child. Traditional surrogacy is, therefore, an approach that carries more legal risk. As such, the majority of surrogacy conducted in the United States involves the use of a gestational carrier.